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As an organisation existing primarily of women, we have come to truly appreciate the dynamic contribution they bring to the table. It is well known that one of the biggest hurdles women face in the workplace is having their softer traits overlooked as valuable to the leadership process; while their tougher exterior misconstrued as bossy.
As women who consider themselves ballsy, (not bossy) our team jumped at the chance to further explore some of the most valuable, softer traits that make for efficient and effective business practices and team development within our organisation. From Richard Branson to Sheryl Sandberg to Jeff Weiner - these traits are tried and tested and proven to be an asset to the world's leading CEO's.
Lead with vulnerability
Being a remote organisation, our team meets (virtually) every Tuesday for our weekly call. Agenda and goal-setting aside, this is a critical time for team-building. Our team calls usually begin by catching up and sharing a few insights into our weekend. While this may seem frivolous, it sets the tone for the call, brings a relaxed energy to the meeting and encourages everyone to let their guard down and be themselves. The best team meetings don’t only happen when we hit our targets and come up with new ideas, but rather when members share personal anecdotes, and risk being vulnerable (because let's face it, that’s risky business) all in support of creating a culture of openness and ease, as well as hard work. Whoever said finding the best solutions to serve our clients and their customer base had to be uninspiring?
Our differences unite
Our team is made up of a unique balance of thinkers and feelers, rationalists and strategists. In order to fully appreciate each team member's unique (and often contrasting) attributes and skills, we seek to understand, not define. This means that we spend a great deal of our effort learning more about each other and the reasons behind our thinking. As a result, we have become pretty good at questioning on the basis to learn more about how our differences contribute to our greater mission. We quickly came to appreciate that when we don’t take into account the specific ways people interpret and react to their environment, we never fully learn the lessons that come as a result of expanding our worldview. This acceptance and sensitivity toward the other, has helped shape a culture of equality as opposed to competition, where everyone has the same opportunity for growth.
An open dialogue
As a remote team, we cannot always be in the same room, with visual cues guiding the conversation. This is when the skill of open and frequent communication becomes critical to our success. As a rule of thumb, we shy away from digital messages and instead, focus on more human interaction on phone calls to better get our message across and establish rapport. This has proven an effective way of managing expectations and reducing assumptions. We noticed how easy it was to get wrapped up in our heads and act out emotionally, as a result. This real-time, frequent, transparent approach to dialogue acts as a reminder that we all have the same goals and that the end of the day, we are each other's biggest supporters and should communicate (and demonstrate) this appreciation whenever we can.
What are some other ways that you dip into your feminine power at work?
Female characteristics. It’s still a shocking truth that 5% of Fortune 500 positions go to women, but the evidence shows that businesses benefit enormously from behavioural traits often considered to be female, such as emotional intelligence, diplomacy and complex social skills. Women make great leaders.